Isles out as USA name squad for Tokyo Sevens
Men’s Eagles Sevens head coach Matt Hawkins has announced his 12-man squad to travel to Japan and Hong Kong, and will have to do without the increasingly influential Carlin Isles and Folau Niua.
Both men recently signed for the Glasgow Warriors and, while they may return for Hawkins in the future, do not feature in this trip.
The sixth and seventh rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series also coincide with the Eagles’ crucial Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying play-off against Uruguay, although Hawkins has lost no players to Mike Tolkin's squad.
“There was no one we had any conflict over,” he said. “I’m happy to support Mike in qualifying for the World Cup.”
Marcus Satavu and Mike Te’o join the Eagles Sevens for the first time this season, while veteran Mike Palefau rejoins the team.
“Satavu is coming in more as a utility player. He can play in the forwards as well as the backs. We didn’t really have a utility player in Wellington," said Hawkins.
“Te’o has been working really hard and he’s still a young guy with a lot of positives. He’s still just learning to be more consistent with his play, but he’s been consistent in the last couple of months and is being rewarded with that with this opportunity to go on tour again.
“Palefau has always been on our radar. He’s someone who isn’t currently with us but I had the opportunity to watch him at the Coral Coast and the Las Vegas Invitational. He’s someone I’d like to get in and see how he does with the programme now. He’s training with the guys this week before we head out.”
With five rounds down and four to play the USA sit 14th in the Series table, seven points clear of Spain, who currently occupy the relegation spot.
Last season they finished strongly to avoid the relegation battle and Hawkins - no longer the captain and now the coach - will hope for the same again.
In Tokyo they line up in Pool C with Fiji, France and Samoa.
Men's Eagles Sevens: Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Andrew Durutalo, Nick Edwards, Pono Haitsuka, Madison Hughes, Ryan Matyas, Mike Palefau, Marcus Satavu, Mike Te'o, Zack Test, Brett Thompson